As one of the producers of the 93rd Academy Awards, Steven Soderbergh took some big swings. Last – but certainly not least in controversy – was the decision to change the order in which awards were handed out, with best films coming before the lead actor categories.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Soderbergh gave his thoughts on how it played out, noting that he had had this structure for the show in mind months before the nominations were announced.
“We talked about it in January. It is our belief – which I do not think is unfounded – that the speeches of the actors tend to be more dramatic than the speeches of the producers, “said Soderbergh. “And then we thought it might be fun to mix it up, especially if people didn̵
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While the change in the Oscar show struggled for more than one reason, it turned out to be controversial, mainly because of the way the lead actor ended up panning out. While Chadwick Boseman died of colon cancer last August, at the age of 43, he was long considered a frontrunner for best actor, given the strength of his turn in Netflix’s August Wilson adaptation, Ma Raineys black bottom. Boseman ville eventually lands a posthumous nomination. Therefore, when the word about category mixed bread on Oscar night, many assumed they understood the reasons for it. The image of a victorious actor gone way too early would close at night and all would be well.
Except that’s not what happened.
The category ended up going to The fatherAnthony Hopkins, who did not even show up for the ceremony.
Certainly it fell Soderbergh’s thoughts that Boseman might win. At the end of the day, however, he suggested that this possibility was only one he seemed to account for with the change of show order. “It was not as we assumed [Boseman] ville [win], but if there was any possibility that it would happen, then you have to explain it, ”said Soderbergh. “It would have been such a crushing moment that it would just be impossible to come back after it.”
Given that the 93rd Oscars happened in the midst of a global pandemic, they would always be different in some way. For a famous avant-garde filmmaker like Soderbergh, what happened in the world represented an “opportunity” to experiment.
In concert with producers Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins, he wound up innovation in many ways apart from naming categories. Among them was the decision to replace clip montages that typically played along with the list of nominated films with stories about the nominees themselves.
While Soderbergh was not surprised by a negative response to this move (because he does not read reviews), he feels good afterwards about the tricks he tried to refresh the broadcast. “You have to understand that this show was considered a lot by us and by the academy as an opportunity to try some completely different things. And the understanding was always, there will be some things that work, and some things that do not, things that people like, things that people do not. That’s the point, ”he said. “So the goal was really to do something else and let the academy seep through the answer and decide what they would do in the future.”
If there’s one element of his show that he hopes the academy retains in the future, it’s the stories from the nominees.
“I like to know more about the nominees,” Soderbergh said. “I think it anchors the industry in a kind of reality and makes it clear to people that the majority of workers do not come from LA and New York, have no connection to the entertainment industry, and that there is no firewall between the cast. and the crew that everyone works a lot together. And that the experience of making a movie is not emptied, as I think some people believe. ”
Next for the Oscar-winning writer-director is New Line’s technological thriller WHO, with Zoë Kravitz, Erika Christensen, Jacob Vargas and more.